Finland as an actor in the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy

The key objectives of the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) include safeguarding the Union’s common values, preserving peace, consolidating democracy and respect for human rights, as well as strengthening the Union’s internal and external security. Finland participates actively in the implementation and development of the CFSP.

EU's foreign ministers in a group photo in Helsinki.
EU's foreign ministers met in an informal meeting, Gymnich, in Helsinki in August 2019. Photo: Lauri Heikkinen/Prime Minister's Office, Finland.

Responding to new security problems and cross-border challenges requires increased international cooperation and EU-level coordination.

People move about from one country to another increasingly more often, for which reason Finland also considers it important to strengthen consular cooperation within the European Union in order to secure the position of citizens.

Finland and the CFSP

Finland’s main premises in the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) are laid down in the Government Programme(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window). Finland’s security, welfare and prerequisites for success are grounded in comprehensive cooperation with other states and international actors.

For Finland, the European Union is a natural political community, and its development enhances Finland’s stability, prosperity and security. The EU is also the most important channel of international cooperation where Finland can exert influence.

The Common Foreign and Security Policy in turn is the key instrument in this work.

High Representative Josep Borrell. Photo: EU

Finland supports the strengthening of the EU’s role as an international political player that acts with one voice in international organisations and contractual negotiations. The Union must be an active player especially in its neighbouring areas, in relation to its strategic partners, and in key global issues.

Instruments of the CFSP

The Union’s competence in the Common Foreign and Security Policy covers all aspects of foreign policy and all questions related to the Union’s security. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Member States implement the CFSP in accordance with EU treaties (Treaty of Lisbon).

When the international situation requires operational activities of the Union, the Council (Foreign Affairs Council) makes the necessary decisions. Crisis management operations as well as different types of restrictive measures (sanctions) imposed on third countries, are the most robust CFSP instruments.

In addition, the Union uses different diplomatic instruments, such as declarations and official representations of views, known as démarches.

The EU is engaged in political dialogue with third parties, under the leadership of the High Representative, seeking to strengthen its own international profile and to play a role in international politics in accordance with its objectives.

The objective of the meetings constituting the dialogue may be to form common positions on international issues, to exchange information, to strengthen cooperation and trust, or to influence the behaviour of the dialogue partner with regard to problematic issues.

The European Union External Action Service assists the High Representative in ensuring the coherence and coordination of the Union’s external action.

The Council of the European Union may appoint special representatives with a specific mandate to assist the High Representative. Several special representatives have been appointed to crisis and conflict areas outside the Union to provide hands-on information about the situation and to help the Union to take an active part in the resolution of problems.